Refugee Crisis: Austria Discussing Far-Reaching Emergency Decree

Written by on September 8, 2016 in Europe, Politics - No comments

Austria is discussing an emergency decree. The parliament might pass the measure this week. What this means is that a state of emergency might be declared in Austria, in case too many refugees are trying to enter the country. The decree would let the country reject asylum applications right at the border. Also, the authorities would be able to detain refugees in “police centers” for up to two weeks.

The government in Vienna came up with a 20-page document, which media in the German-speaking countries described as a “horror scenario”. According to its authors in the government, it might become reality if e.g. Turkey cancels the so-called E.U. Turkey Agreement.

Austria’s neighbour Slovenia already reacted, by announcing it would get tougher at its borders. Slovenia’s Prime Minister Miro Cerar told the press: “If Austria closes up its borders, all refugees will be stuck in Slovenia.” He warned of a break-up of the European Union, in case the “refugee problem” could not be solved in a concerted effort.

Like other Eastern European heads of government before him, he demanded more help for Bulgaria, regarding the protection of its borders, because of its geographical location. At this stage, the European border protection agency Frontex is in Bulgaria, while the Czech polices forces were promised and might be sent.

At the same time, an argument between Vienna and Budapest has erupted. Austria’s Minister of the Interior, Wolfgang Sobotka, threatened Hungary by saying it will be sued at the European Court, for failing to accept the return of so-called “Dublin refugees”. According to the Dublin enactment, an E.U. country is responsible for refugees who were registered there first. Sobotka said, he saw “a permanent breach of law” on the part of Hungary.

By Imanuel Marcus

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